Inside Scoop

Hannah - Spanish student

Welcome, new students!

My name is Hannah, I'm an American AIL Madrid student, and I'm here to tell you a little bit about housing here in Madrid! There are a few things you will probably be expecting, some you may not, and one or two you probably haven't thought about before. I hope you find them helpful!

I arrived in Madrid three months ago, but I still remember my first day like it was yesterday. Now, looking back, I'd like to review a few things I wish I had known, or had a better perspective on, to make your stay here as seamless as possible.

So, let's talk about Madrid. Madrid is a city of roughly 6 million people, though it never feels particularly crowded, and it is roughly 2000 years old. These two simple facts actually influence domestic life here in a number of ways, as follows:


Many of Madrid's buildings are centuries old and are some of the most beautiful in the world. However, this also means that all renovations have had to be done in respect of the original structure and, thus, piping or cables can sometimes be visible. Additionally, that means that the structures may not feel as modern, air-tight, and luxurious as you may be accustomed to. So just remember, while you're staying in Madrid, you're experiencing history!

The Gate of Europe


Because of this historic nature of Madrid's buildings, not all of them will contain elevators or numerous entrances and exits. In our home countries, we are very used to modern construction but, in Madrid, we have to learn to be a little flexible.

View of the Plaza Mayor


With 6 million people, not everyone can bag a master bedroom- especially in the heart of the city. While I'm sure AIL will find you the best accommodation available within your price range, it may still feel very different from home and I encourage you to keep an open mind to the population and history around you.

The famous Gran Vía


The first time you do your laundry in Madrid, you may notice the lack of a dryer- but don't worry! This is not your flat/home in particular, it's the cultural norm. Nearly everyone hangs their laundry, so go ahead and string your jeans up! With this in mind, remember that washers, sinks, showers, bath tubs (or lack thereof), and bathrooms may be smaller in size than you are accustomed to. I advise you to pack your lightest summer clothes because, though summers are hot, you shouldn't expect your accommodation to have air conditioning. If you're lucky, you may have a small ventilator but its best to be prepared for any situation! The same goes for winter: antique buildings can be drafty, so nice, warm pajamas are your new best friend.

The beautiful Almudena Cathedral


On a slightly different note, both lunch and dinner tend to be a little later in Madrid. If you are staying in accommodation with prepared meals, lunch will typically be sometime between 1pm and 3pm, and dinner between 8pm and 10pm. This may seem odd now, but you'll adjust almost instantly and never think about it again!

An evening in the Plaza Mayor

I hope this information helps you prepare for your stay in Madrid, however long that may be. My experience has been absolutely wonderful, and I'm confident you're going to have an amazing time too! 

Welcome to Madrid!

Hannah Baker